We sat down with COPA's Tabitha Zamarripa to discuss Hispanic Heritage Month and everything Lineage is doing to celebrate the occasion.

Celebrating Roots and Forging Futures: Hispanic Heritage Month Insights with Tabitha Zamarripa

September 27, 2023

From September 15 - October 15, Hispanic Heritage Month is a vibrant celebration of culture, contributions and the ongoing journey of Hispanic and LatinX communities. It's a reminder of the profound impact this community has made and continues to make. At the heart of this celebration within Lineage is COPA, Creating Opportunities and Providing Advocacy, our Hispanic/LatinX Employee Resource Group. We sat down with one of the leaders of this dynamic ERG, Tabitha Zamarripa, Project Manager and Vice Chair of COPA. Throughout our enlightening conversation, we gain a deeper understanding of COPA's journey, the milestones achieved and the visions set for the horizon—all within the tapestry of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Can you give us a rundown of some of the accomplishments that you and the COPA ERG have achieved in the past year?

COPA stands as Lineage's thriving Hispanic/LatinX Employee Resource group, which has flourished significantly over the past year. It has been a delight to participate in its remarkable journey of expansion. This year, COPA achieved a significant milestone by attracting over 350 members and allies across our network. Through initiatives like HOLA, an enlightening and educational newsletter, and the display of posters in over 200 of our US facilities, COPA has effectively spread its message of inclusion and education. Quarterly meetings have provided a platform to engage with our leaders, creating an avenue of easy communication and collaboration. Our Around the Mesa and fireside chats have seen great success by amplifying the voices of Hispanic leaders like Richard Montañez and sparking great discussions within our organization.

Moreover, the group has also extended its support via our mentorship program. Through this new program, we pair COPA members with mentors to enhance and develop specific skills, helping them as they progress throughout the organization. Team members work together over the course of six months or less, coming away with new skills to help advance them on their career journey here at Lineage.

What are some of the key goals and initiatives for COPA in the coming year?

COPA's approach has been centered on diving deep into our initiatives rather than spreading thin. As we transition into the upcoming year, this principle remains unchanged. Our strategy involves enhancing and expanding successful endeavors, such as the HOLA newsletter, Regional Captain chairs, Around the Mesa fireside talks and the mentorship program. Furthermore, we intend to develop the groundwork established this year in terms of community engagement, network visibility and advocacy. We have big plans for COPA!

What role does Lineage play in supporting Hispanic/LatinX team members' career growth and development, and how does COPA help?

Lineage has embraced the notion of family, a concept that deeply resonates within the Hispanic community, where this role plays a pivotal part in the success of all individuals. As the One Lineage Family, we are empowered to bring any topic of discussion to the table. Lineage has consistently demonstrated attentiveness and adaptability, amending our business approaches based on input from across our ERG. One example of this is the support we receive for our mentorship program. COPA participants actively offer opportunities for voices to be heard at the table. Through increased exposure, active discussions and our mentorship program, team members can confidently pursue skills development and professional advancement within the organization.

Could you share what Hispanic Heritage Month means to COPA and yourself, personally?

This holiday, spanning two months, is an occasion to celebrate the cultural heritage and contributions of the LatinX/Hispanic community, while also commemorating the collective progress we have achieved. On a personal level, it's a moment that brings a smile to my face as I reflect on our history and eagerly anticipate the future. My grandfather participated in the Cursillo Movement, and was instrumental in starting the Spanish Speaking Information Center in Michigan (where Lineage is headquartered) as he advocated for the Hispanic community throughout his entire lifetime. Observing COPA today, I envision a Latin community that's on the cusp of boundless achievements. Witnessing our journey from where we started to hearing the aspirations that drive us forward in this expansive and ever-growing community is undeniably exhilarating.

How is COPA involving Lineage team members and the community at large in celebrations and educational activities this month?

COPA orchestrated a ‘spirit week’ to impart historical insights, partake in cultural festivities and facilitate learning experiences centered around language and food. Throughout the week of September 18th, we encouraged the Lineage family to engage in various activities: showcasing their heritage through attire on Monday, learn or teach a Spanish or Portuguese phrase on Tuesday, wear their ERG shirt on Wednesday, exchange music connected to their national heritage on Thursday and, finally, share their most beloved Latin cuisine on Friday.

The most effective way to take part in Hispanic Heritage Month is through active engagement within your community. Come together to dance, dine and share knowledge! For those facing hunger, actively seeking out local volunteer opportunities and food banks is a great way to help as well.

Honoring the Journey and Embracing Tomorrow

As Hispanic Heritage Month draws to a close, it's essential to remember that the spirit of celebration, recognition and progress transcends beyond a designated month. COPA's dedication, with leaders like Tabitha Zamarripa at the helm, exemplifies the beauty of unity in diversity and the power of collective action. Lineage's commitment to its One Lineage Family and the Hispanic and LatinX community stands as a testament to a shared vision of a future where everyone's contributions are valued, and every voice is heard.

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